I love this stroppy little beetle, and not just for its cracking name. If you disturb it under a rock or log, it will raise up its abdomen, scorpion-style. It will also open its jaws and sometimes squirt a foul-smelling liquid out of its abdomen.
It’s said that it can deliver a painful bite, but on the countless occasions I’ve picked them up to show people this has never happened to me.
At night they are voracious predators, eating insects, spiders and slugs. They have wings, but rarely fly. An old British folk story has the beetle eating the core of Eve’s apple, and the lesson that anyone crushing one is forgiven seven sins.
Photo by Anne Riley